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Recommend me a cheap Scotch?

I am looking for suggestions for relatively good cheap Scotch Whiskeys. By cheap I mean ones which cost less than Johnny Walker Red. I know enough about Scotch to understand there are different regions like the lowland, highlands, Isles, and Speyside; and there are ones with more/less peat or smoke. But I know less about what the different styles taste like. I would like to learn about good representative samples from each area/style, to get a sense of the variety of flavor profiles, but I don't want to pay 12+ year single malt prices. Thanks in advance.
 
By cheap I mean ones which cost less than Johnny Walker Red.
So you want a cheap blend that is less then Johnnie Walker Red or a cheap single malt that costs less then Johnnie Walker red?


Johnnie Walker red runs about $21.00 a 750ml bottle here. Specs here in Houston sells about 364 different single malts however only has 9 single malts that are that price range.


TAMBOWIE SINGLE MALT [SCOTLAND] 750ML 19.09
GLEN PARKER SINGLE MALT 80 750ML 20.72
DRUMGUISH HIGHLAND MALT [SCOTLAND] 750ML 21.04
TAMDHU SINGLE MALT SCOTCH 750ML 21.28
LISMORE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH 750ML 22.65
MCCLELLAND MALT * HIGHLAND 750ML 23.15
MCCLELLAND MALT * LOWLAND 750ML 23.15
MCCLELLAND MALT * SPEYSIDE 750ML 23.15
MCCLELLAND MALT ISLA [SCOTLAND] 750ML 23.15.

List of all single malts at Specs to help you out.
 

Legion

Moderator Emeritus
Famous Grouse.

Cheap. Drinkable. Gets the job done.

If they don't have that, Grants.

What price is Jameson where you are? It is not technically a scotch... but it is bloody nice for the price.
 
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Legion

Moderator Emeritus
Oh, I read it as he just didn't want to pay single malt prices. :blushing:

Having been the veteran of many cheap single malts... none stick in my mind that I would recommend. My feeling is that they have to blend a scotch to make it that cheap and still drinkable. YMMV.
 
I am looking for suggestions for relatively good cheap Scotch Whiskeys. By cheap I mean ones which cost less than Johnny Walker Red. I know enough about Scotch to understand there are different regions like the lowland, highlands, Isles, and Speyside; ....
It is a very difficult question, you are asking, because in your question, you are comparing a blended whisky (Johnny Walker red) with single malts (lowland, highlands, Isles, and Speyside). Single malts are normally considered as better whisky than blendeds and therefore often more expensive - even the cheap ones.

I'm not quite familar with prices in USA, but I think that it would be rather difficult to find a single malt cheaper than a Johnny Walker red. Could not be done here in Denmark at least.

By the way, in Scotland they spell whisky without an "e". Whiskey is the Irish (and maybe the American) way of spelling the wonderful stuff:thumbup:
 
It is a very difficult question, you are asking, because in your question, you are comparing a blended whisky (Johnny Walker red) with single malts (lowland, highlands, Isles, and Speyside). Single malts are normally considered as better whisky than blendeds and therefore often more expensive - even the cheap ones.

By the way, in Scotland they spell whisky without an "e". Whiskey is the Irish way of spelling the wonderful stuff:thumbup:
I agree with this, I think you're asking for the impossible. I regard JW Red as a benchmark blend. I wouldn't go below it in price unless the blend on offer is at a reduced price. Having said that I do avoid blends, I prefer the single malts.

About the spelling. The Irish suggest that it is the traditional scottish meanness that prevents the Scots spelling whisky with an e; it saves money at the label printers. The Scots retaliate by pointing out it only takes them two distillations to get it right; the Irish take three.

You could rename this thread 'Recommend me a cheap headache', there would be plenty of answers then!
 
Maybe I missed read the OP but I thought he has looking for a single malt that is cheaper then johnnie walker red.
I don't care if it is a single malt or blend, I am only concerned with taste. But given the "cheap" constraint I do expect most options to be a blend. I am basically looking to explore the low-end to find what I like before venturing too far up the ladder in price.

So you want a cheap blend that is less then Johnnie Walker Red or a cheap single malt that costs less then Johnnie Walker red?


Johnnie Walker red runs about $21.00 a 750ml bottle here. Specs here in Houston sells about 364 different single malts however only has 9 single malts that are that price range.


TAMBOWIE SINGLE MALT [SCOTLAND] 750ML 19.09
GLEN PARKER SINGLE MALT 80 750ML 20.72
DRUMGUISH HIGHLAND MALT [SCOTLAND] 750ML 21.04
TAMDHU SINGLE MALT SCOTCH 750ML 21.28
LISMORE SINGLE MALT SCOTCH 750ML 22.65
MCCLELLAND MALT * HIGHLAND 750ML 23.15
MCCLELLAND MALT * LOWLAND 750ML 23.15
MCCLELLAND MALT * SPEYSIDE 750ML 23.15
MCCLELLAND MALT ISLA [SCOTLAND] 750ML 23.15.

List of all single malts at Specs to help you out.
Good info. I have tried McClelland Lowland and found it quite likeable. I don't have proper vocabulary to describe it, but it was light but quite flavorful, as compared to some others which were more smoky and good in a different way. So I suspect there is a range of tastes to explore at the low end price-wise, before going for the smoother and arguably better and more expensive distillations.
 
So I suspect there is a range of tastes to explore at the low end price-wise, before going for the smoother and arguably better and more expensive distillations.
I'm inclined to disagree with this. IMO malts are quite strong distinctive characters; shall we say their taste spectrum ranges from one to one hundred. Blends take away the distinctiveness to provide a mellower more centred flavour. I would say that blends on the taste spectrum range from 35 to 65. Therefore this a much smaller range of tastes. Think of it this way: if i offered you scotch and gave you Laphroaig you would receive a drink at the extreme of the taste spectrum, not what you were looking for. You will get SMWs that are also middle of the road but I don't believe you will get blends that cater to the more extreme taste. Blends are a marriage of SMWs in a base grain liquid. In this marriage the extremes of the malts are smoothed out to create a smoother whisky. The range of tastes is thereby limited to the smoother middle flavours. I stand to be corrected on this statement!

(The number simile is my own way of describing this by the way)
 
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I am not an expert, but do drink a bit of Scotch. I sometimes buy John Barr. It is really inexpensive. It is also a rather mild blend. That is not always bad. Other inexpensive Scotch whisky blends that I like are Teachers and Cutty Sark.

The only relatively inexpensive single malt I like is Auchentoshan. It is also a relatively mild whisky. My favorite single malt so far is Glenfiddish. That is probably because I am too frugal to buy anything really expensive. Maybe you can tell I have some Scottish forebears.:blush:
 
I picked up a bottle of Speyburn Bradan Orach on a whim earlier this year. It was around $18 for the bottle, and while not my preferred peat bomb it had proven to be a pretty decent sipping scotch. It's a bit fruity with the impression of honey throughout, and it's as smooth as I've had a scotch. Highly recommended.
 
Glenlivet 12 year, $21 at costco!
What? Where? what state? Cheapest I can get it is about $39

I love Texas, home of the drive thru BEvERage Barn but a grocery store can't sell hard liquor. Costco and Sam's are Wine/Beer only.


For those who haven't seen a Drive Thru Beer Barn here are a few pics. Cause you know i'm not going to drink that 40oz i just bought at a drive thru.



 
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Of all the inexpensive brands of scotch listed here, I've only had the Dewar's, and remember that I preferred it to JW Red. Admittedly, that was many years ago..
 
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